ritaxis: (hat)
I am writing this month, but I can't do Nanowrimo for reasons. One: I don't seem able to focus on very large projects at this time. I'm just grateful I can write at all! Anything longer than a short tends to get lost in the underbrush of a no-longer-chemo-brain. So I'm writing shorts, cleaning up old stuff, submitting a bit. I decided that since it's really unlikely for me to make enough money to be thrown off of Medi-Cal in the near future, it's dumb not to submit. Actually--did I explain this?--being thrown off Medi-Cal is not the thing I fear. What I'm afraid of is getting put into the grey category where they don't throw you off Medi-Cal but they require you to pay several hundred dollars (for some people, thousands!) before they will pay for anything. It would be better to get thrown all the way off and pay the (newly) normal subsidized premiums and copays, but that doesn't happen immediately. Worse, I have no idea what would trigger which alternative. So, just as in the case of facing up to cancer, etc., I just have to live my life.

I already submitted two things--one at the end of last month, but I'm counting it in this month. That was a near-future sort-of fantasy about a woman who is being moved out of her inundated neighborhood to find that her new neighborhood is pretty watery itself. And also pretty strange. The other is "John Brown's Body," which is ten years old and looks it, but it's going to a reprint market and its datedness might be interesting in the light of how things are working out, politically, these days. I mean it's sort of the opposite to everything!

I wrote a flash piece but my first reader (you know who you are) said what I was feeling--that the story felt like the unshot gun on the mantle. So now it's turning into a novella. I think it's kind of a time paradox story, but maybe not: some mysteries are not to be understood by the author. An old lady returns to the mysterious coastal village she spent a summer in during her childhood, and finds things to be somewhat different from how she remembered them, but some things are entirely too similar. The best part is the setting, of course. I think, despite what I said about my brain not being able to handle longer projects, that this is not too much for me to handle. Again, there are parts of the story that can't decide whether they are near-future sf or fantasy.

During the summer I was working on two short novels, but due to chemotherapy I could only move them forward a bit. One was about girls who save the world by means of their special relationship with crows and pigeons respectively. Honestly, the hardest part of that one is working out a believable mechanism for them to save even a shred of the world. And yet, parts of the world do get saved on a regular basis.

The other is low-fantasy in that it is set in the same fantasy world--but a different corner of it--and it is unlikely that much of the fantasy elements will come to bear on the story. It's an enemies-to-lovers story happening in the interstices of a larger drama of bandit freedom fighters and also referencing the earliest days of the motion picture industry as experienced by eager innovators in other corners of the world. But not our world. Informed by the last years of the Ottoman empire but in no way an analog for it.

On other fronts: I am a third of the way through radiation therapy. The only bothersome effect is my own body's ridiculous response to any postural demand, which is to spasm painfully somewhere. I have to lie in a comfortable position on a well-constructed individualized support for less than half an hour a day, and my body's response to this is to develop stiff painful areas in my neck, back, and arm. Not the side being radiated. The other side. My radiated breast is a little red, and maybe a bit sensitive, but not so as I'd care, especially with this other crap going on.

Continuing with the health care theme, I've restarted physical therapy. I'd gotten de-conditioned and I'd gained weight during chemo, because I spent a lot of the day sleeping or lying in bed reading. Now my energy level is back to its normal (kind of low) levels, and I'm getting more exercise, but there's some damage to undo. Also, I've been using the BiPAP machine for two months and it is not creating as dramatic a difference as one might expect. However, the doctor has some suspicions about my oxygen uptake which we're going to measure next week & discuss next month.

AND last but not least in this theme, today I got cortisone shots in both thumbs to fight severe trigger finger. It's the second round. The first wore off two months ago but the PA's not willing to give me shots more often than every six months. So if this happens again we're looking at surgery. I'm not afraid of surgery. I'm afraid of being the little old lady who collects all the surgeries, and also the fact that I've been enjoying my surgical experiences feels a little perverse to me, so I drag my feet for that reason too.

It's time to go to radiation or I'd expound about Zluta and the state of my house, but that will have to wait for another day, because after radiation Zluta and I will take a walk and after that I will want to clean house a bit before time for dancing.
ritaxis: (hat)
My left hand has been gradually becoming more insistant about the fact that it has a nerve entrapment. I want to say carpal tunnel syndrome because I had it before, and indeed had a release done on my right hand 37 years ago, but honestly it could easily be due to the mess in my neck vertebrae. This morning when I was sewing and I had to keep stopping and shaking out my hand and opening up my joints I decided it's gotten bad enough that I must address it this year if I can. So when I was doing my Week 5 checkup with the surgeon's PA, I mentioned it in passing as something I was going to need to deal with and he said "we do those too," which is a relief because I like these people and now I don't have to meet a new doctor. He was pretty sure we could get it done before the end of the year, which will mean that it will be free, because I'll hit my limit for the year on the first surgery.

Of course we need to have tests done to determine where the entrapment is. I'm hoping it's in the wrist because that is a simple, easy surgery with a great record. I know it's not the elbow because ulnar entrapments cause numbness on the little finger side instead of the thumb side. Andrew said neck entrapments cause numbness on the thumb side. I don't know what that surgery is like. Oh, and I haven't considered the shoulder joint: that can be the location of entrapments too. I hope not. Shoulders are complicated.

We didn't schedule the second knee today because the person who does that was out of the office, but when I told Andrew about my right leg buckling he agreed that it should be scheduled as fast as protocols and logistics allow. He thinks September, and maybe November for the other one. Then in January I'll be all fixed.

I also saw the physical therapist today and he had me do the stationary bike and a couple of resistance exercises with machines that have weights on them and also some stretches. At first I thought I couldn't do the bike--thought I had had a setback-but a minute and a half of pistoning back and forth as I warmed up and I was good to go for eight more minutes and my right leg didn't even complain, so I guess I'm closer to riding a real bike than I thought. I was thinking of going to dance class tonight just to say hello but I was too tired at the time. But my friend called from class and I got to touch base with her.

I also got prescriptions and groceries and I also had a bagel and also went to the fabric store where they were having a sale on rayons so I got a bunch of little pieces to make undershirts because I really love these little lightweight undershirts and I have given up on bras completely since the last time I wore one my breast swelled up and ached for days. And I finished my blue and white bandana border dress I made for my stepbrother's wedding. It's a wee bit dorky but I'm structurally a grandma and I get to wear wee-bit dorky clothes.  And then I was exhausted and I couldn't make jam even though I had a huge pot of plums picked from yesterday so I just cut them up and put them in the freezer so they won't rot between now and Sunday when I will have my first chance at doing it.

But tomorrow is the wedding and my hands are purple because while I bought gloves I forgot to wear them. So I have to soak and scrub them a lot beforehand.

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